Tax bracket Change after the death of the spouse or a life partner

If your spouse or partner dies, or Your life partner, your tax bracket will be automatically changed to tax class III from the first of the month following the day of death. In the following year, you will also remain in tax class III. From the beginning of the second calendar year after the death of your spouse or your life partner, tax class I is programmatically formed for you. A change to tax class III after the death of your spouse or your life partner does not take place if, for example, you have lived permanently separated at the time of death. Instead of tax class III, you may also be eligible for tax class II, which may be more favorable, if you are entitled to the relief amount for single those. You can apply for tax class II at your responsible tax office (see further information). hint: Since the entry into force of the act introducing the right to marry for persons of the same sex on 1.10.2017, no new civil partnerships can be established in Germany. Since then, same-sex couples have been able to enter into marriage with each other and are thus on an equal footing with couples of different sexes. Existing civil partnerships can be converted into a marriage. However, there is no obligation to do so. Existing civil partnerships can be continued in their current form.

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The consideration of tax class II in the income tax deduction procedure must be applied for in writing on the officially prescribed form at the responsible tax office (see further information).

Preconditions
If you and your deceased spouse or partner or If your partner did not live permanently separately at the time of death, you will automatically be included in tax class III.
Section 38b of the Income Tax Act (EStG); The legal basis can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/estg/__38b.html

In principle, you do not need to do anything to receive tax class III after the death of your spouse or partner. If you wish to be classified in tax class II, you can apply to your responsible tax office so that the relief amount for single bodies can already be taken into account in the income tax deduction procedure (see further information).

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony State Tax Office

Last update or date of publication
23.02.2021